This is the transcript to The Baby Names Podcast episode #27 Names from Women’s History.
ANNOUNCER: You’re listening to the international hit show, The Baby Names podcast. And here are your hosts, the Moss sisters.
JENNIFER: I’m Jennifer Moss
MALLORY: and I’m Mallory Moss Katz.
JENNIFER: And we’re the founders of babynames.com
MALLORY: And we’re sisters too.
JENNIFER: Yes, we are for many, many years.
MALLORY: Yes indeed.
JENNIFER: So our first segment is always interesting names we found since the last episode. And one of my names, I’ve always loved this one, but I was reminded of it, is Tiago. T.I.A.G.O. And that’s the Latin version of the name James meaning supplanter. Another name I love is Nesta. N.E.S.T.A, which means pure. It’s actually a nickname or diminutive of the name Agnes.
MALLORY: Wow, that doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with each other.
JENNIFER: I know except for the NES. And one name that I’ve always loved, and I’m going to use it for a literary character one day is Hawk, like the bird. H.A.W.K. and that can be used for any gender.
MALLORY: Well, I’m always a fan of the Oscars, although I didn’t see many of the nominated films this year.
JENNIFER: Yeah, I didn’t either.
MALLORY: Rami Malek of course won best actor for Bohemian Rhapsody and beat out an interesting version of William, Willem Dafoe.
JENNIFER: Willem is the Dutch version of the name William.
MALLORY: Yes and Rami is an Arabic name meaning one who throws or figuratively to aim, as in, have a goal. Mahershala Ali, real name Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, won best supporting actor for Green Book.
MALLORY: In the Bible Mahershalalhashbaz was the second son of the prophet Isaiah.
JENNIFER: I like how Isaiah was the name that tripped you up.
MALLORY: I know, right? I got Mahershalalhasbaz, but not Isaiah. Incidentally it is the longest name word used in the Bible.
MALLORY: It means swift are the spoils, speedy is the plunder.
MALLORY: Interestingly, the best director nominees were very multicultural as well with the following names. I think it’s Pavle, Yorgos, Alfonso Cuaron winner for Roma with Spike and Adam too.
JENNIFER: Cool names. And as an addendum Spike Lee’s real name is Shelton. S. H. E. L. T. O. N. His mother nicknamed him Spike when he was a kid.
MALLORY: Oh, okay.
JENNIFER: Yeah. So the topic of the week is names from women’s history because March is women’s history month and this is one of my all-time favorite topics. And so we thought it was appropriate to dive into historical female icons.
MALLORY: Yeah. Coming from a family with five women, this subject is dear to our hearts.
JENNIFER: It is. And if you didn’t know babynames.com is owned and operated by an all-female crew. I love women’s history personally and sometimes the women get overlooked in the history books and the media.
MALLORY: Jenn, don’t you have a Facebook page about this subject?
JENNIFER: I do. It’s called Chixstory – C.H.I.X.story and I started it to feature women of history that normally we haven’t heard about in the history class. I also feature contemporary women who are making history.
MALLORY: Yeah. And I just read that recent post about the eight-year-old girl in Mexico who won a top scientific prize for inventing a solar powered water heater. That’s crazy.
JENNIFER: Isn’t that incredible? And she has a fantastic Aztec name too, Xochitl. Xochitl Guadalupe Cruz. I just love that story and it just goes to show you that children can have as much brain power and might even have more creativity than adults. Xochitl – X.O.C.H.I.T.L means flower in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. Now, Nahuatl has been spoken in Central Mexico since at least the seventh century CE. So, Mal, tell me some of your favorite women of history.
MALLORY: Well, some of my favorite women of history include nurses of course such as Clara Barton, and we’ll talk about Florence N in a little bit. Princess Diana. Heroines such as Anne Frank are essential and her actual first name is the beautiful Annalise. And Helen Keller comes to mind. Also, there is a little known sister Cecylia Roszak who had Jewish children during the Holocaust and lived to the ripe old age of 110, making her at that time the oldest nun ever to live.
JENNIFER: Those are some really amazing women. Now I think in the more contemporary times, Gloria should be mentioned. Gloria Steinem is one of the most famous Gloria’s — an American feminist activist. Also Susan B. Anthony who shares a moniker with our sister who led the suffragist movement. Suffragettes were female activists who fought for the right to vote. Yes, there was a time only men could vote. Could you believe it? The 19th amendment was passed by Congress on June 4th, 1919, ratified on August 18, 1920. So it’s been less than a hundred years since women have had the right to vote. Other feminists from the past include Sojourner Truth who was born Isabella Baumfree. She went by Belle. She was born in 1797 and she was an African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She actually changed her name in 1843. Sojourner means traveler and of course we know the meaning of truth. She chose the name because she made it her mission to travel around preaching about the abolition of slavery.
MALLORY: And it’s from the French verb sejourner meaning to stay temporarily.
JENNIFER: Oh, cool. Like a traveler. Cool.
MALLORY: Maybanke Anderson – cool name – was a woman’s rights activist in Australia in the 1890s. Maybanke is most probably the combination of the names may and bank like a river bank.
JENNIFER: Another suffragette with a cool name is Alva Belmont, born Alva Erskine Smith. She was a socialite that used her power and wealth to aid the women’s movement in the early 20th century. Alva is a Latin name, meaning fair skinned.
MALLORY: Clementina Black was a famous British activist and writer. Clementina is the form of the name Clementine, which means gentle or merciful and has become more popular in the past five years. Other suffragists include Harriot, with an ‘O’, Blatch, Amelia Bloomer, Carrie Chapman Catt, C.A.T.T, Elizabeth Cady Stanton of course. And Cady is C.A.D.Y. Helena Swanwick and get this, Ada Chew.
JENNIFER: Ada Chew. Speaking of Ada’s, I don’t want to forget my favorite Ada, Ada Lovelace, who was the first female computer programmer, 1815 to 1852. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, was an English mathematician and writer known for her work on what was called the quote “analytical engine”, which was the first computer created by Charles Babbage. She was born Augusta Byron. She was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and nicknamed Ada by her father.
MALLORY: Wow. I didn’t know any of that actually. Let’s talk about women in medicine. That’s my background. Florence Nightingale, probably one of the most famous Florence’s, was the founder of modern nursing. She managed and trained nurses during the Crimean War in which they cared for wounded soldiers. The name ranked number seven in the United States in 1900 and is still barely on the charts at 980. I think it could make a comeback since it’s one of those cool old fashioned names like Mabel and Gertrude.
JENNIFER: Definitely. Yeah.
MALLORY: Trota of Salerno was a medical practitioner and writer in Southern Italy in the early 12th century. A book was produced in Latin with some of her therapies and treatises on women’s medicine that came to be known as the Trotula. Trota was one of the earliest documented female medical practitioners in the West.
JENNIFER: Woo, I liked that name, Trota. T. R. O. T. A.
MALLORY: Elizabeth Blackwell was a British physician and the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States in 1849. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to receive a medical degree in the US in 1864. Dr. Mae Jemison received her medical degree in 1981 and later became a NASA astronaut, the first African American female in space. And we can’t forget Marie Sklodowska Curie. Physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Her findings helped advance radiation treatments for cancer treatment.
JENNIFER: Yup, Marie Curie, ladies and gentlemen.
MALLORY: Yes, indeed. Susan La Fleshe Picotte was an Omaha Native American who was the first indigenous woman to receive a medical degree in the US in 1889.
JENNIFER: Lots of Susans in women’s history. Our Susan should feel really good about that. So now we come to my career or one of them. Let’s talk writers. I love writing and reading. Some of my favorite female authors include Octavia Butler, who wrote one of my all-time favorite books, Kindred. It’s a time travel written in the 70s I believe, where an African American woman travels back in time to the South during slavery and she has to deal with all of that. It’s just an amazing book. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors also.
MALLORY: Love her.
JENNIFER: I’ve conversed with her on Twitter. She told me how she got those wonderful curls in her hair. And mystery writer Sue Grafton, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a writer’s conference prior to her passing. Another Sue.
MALLORY: Well, I hope it was prior.
JENNIFER: Haha. Another amazing woman in history that I admire and you mentioned before is Helen Keller. She was an author and a public speaker and an early advocate for the differently abled. For the minimal people out there who don’t know who Helen Keller was. She was born in 1880 and was blind and deaf and was basically written off by her family as being like a wasted member of society, but boy did she prove them wrong. Go watch The Miracle Worker. The movie, the one from 1962 where Patty Duke plays Helen Keller. There was a later one where she plays Annie, but that one isn’t as good. Another favorite, a more contemporary author is Lois Duncan, whom I also conversed with on social media prior to her passing. She wrote paranormal type mid-grade and young adult novels. Lois is one of those names I’ve always loved too. It’s a Greek name and means better. I love that. One of my first bosses was named Lois and I loved her too and now I guess it would be associated with Lois Griffin of the cartoon Family Guy.
MALLORY: Shout out to Steve Callahan from the Family Guy, show runner. Also Lois Lane from the Superman comic.
JENNIFER: I forgot about her.
MALLORY: My favorite female authors are Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind.
JENNIFER: Oh yeah.
MALLORY: I also love 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult, Margaret Atwood, Handmaid’s Tale. And my most favorite J.K Rowling who initialized her name to hide that she was female or was that just an old wives’ tale Jennifer?
JENNIFER: That is actually true. Since her target audience was boys between the ages of like 8 and 16 she decided, I think with her publisher that she was not going to use her real name Joanne because she thought it would turn off the boy readers, so she used J.K.
MALLORY: Little did they know she was going to be amazing and attractive naming for everybody.
JENNIFER: Exactly. Returning to the Chixstory Facebook page, some women featured on there include Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock. She helped expose and demystify the subject of domestic violence in the 1980s. Others are Tabitha King, Dr. Gladys West, Madam CJ Walker, Modern Hero Candace Payne, Captain Rosemary Mariner, Christa McAuliffe, Dr. Olivia Hooker, and more. We feature women in politics, the military, the arts, STEM, anyone who has made or is currently making history. To check it out, go to facebook.com/chixstory. C.H.I.X.S.T.O.R.Y.
Announcer: And now it’s time for celebrity baby news!
JENNIFER: Former Today Show host Tamron Hall and husband Steven are expecting their first child together. Hall, 48, says she wished she had started the process of having a child in her twenties but is over the moon that they made it to 32 weeks now. It seems like this has been a difficult journey because she asks for prayers for the pregnancy and posted, quote, “There have been many tears, but today I embrace the smiles” unquote. As for her career, Hall is launching a new syndicated daytime talk show in September.
MALLORY: Oh, okay. Good. Tyler Hubbard of the country duo, Florida Georgia Line and wife Hayley are expecting their second child. The baby will be joining sister Olivia Rose who is just over one year old. The baby is due mid-August.
JENNIFER: Olivia Rose, very traditional naming. Teen mom, O.G. Star, Catelynn Lowell, and her husband Tyler Baltierra just welcomed their third child, a baby girl according to US Weekly. The couple chose a very unique name for their new edition – Vaeda Luma, with an M this time. Vaeda V.A.E.D.A. is an alternate spelling of the Indian Sanskrit name Veda, V.E.D.A, which means eternal knowledge. Luma means light or enlightened.
MALLORY: No. Okay. That’s pretty. It reminds me of the name Luna.
JENNIFER: I know, I know Luna.
MALLORY: People Magazine reports that Ali Fedotowsky Manno and husband are back in the same bed after sleeping separately following their son’s birth.
JENNIFER: Wait. Who is she?
MALLORY: I don’t know.
JENNIFER: You’re the one who added this article.
MALLORY: Isn’t she an athlete? Look it up.
JENNIFER: She is an American television personality, correspondent host, spokesperson and blogger.
MALLORY: So not an athlete.
JENNIFER: No. She was on the ABC reality shows The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love and she was the sixth bachelorette. So basically she’s the bachelorette.
MALLORY: All right. So we are really scraping the bottom of the barrel for news. All right. So she and her husband slept apart for the first few months of their son’s life. Not because we were fighting, she says, but because we got to sleep. Well, what do you think folks? Do you think that it is worth sleeping in separate beds during the first few months of your baby’s life? I think it could cut down on the bonding myself.
JENNIFER: It was a slow couple of weeks in celebrity baby news. Come on celebrities, start conceiving.
MALLORY: Do you need us to put on some romantic music or something?
JENNIFER: For up to the minute celebrity baby news, go to babynames.com and click celebrities in the menu.
JENNIFER: And in our final segment we take questions from you, our listeners and we’re getting a ton. Thank you so much. If you have a question for us by the way, email it to email@example.com that comes straight to me and Mallory.
MALLORY: Yes, indeed.
JENNIFER: Mal, take the first one.
MALLORY: All right. Dear Jennifer and Mallory. My husband and I are planning for number two sometime in the coming year. When we were pregnant with our son Broderic Zane, and that was spelled B. R. O. D. E. R. I. C. we only had his name picked out and my hubby is convinced that’s why he was a boy. So we’ll aim for only girl names for number two. My question is about masculine names for a girl. I love the idea of my daughter’s gender not being known straight away on a job college application, but are they too trendy? Will her age show in 20 years with the Brittany’s, Jessica’s and yes, Jennifer’s I grew up within the 90s? Is that a bad thing? My favorites are Lochlyn and Carter. I have gotten a lot of pushback with Lochlyn as it’s almost exclusively a male name internationally. I hesitate with Carter being such a popular boys name here in the US. I’d hate her to go through her grade school years as girl Carter. Also, my husband loves nicknames. Our son goes by Brody most of the time and I like Lochlyn shortened to Lo. But I’m not sure how to shorten Carter. Maybe that will come with time. So what do you think sisters? Is there any hope for our name list or is it back to the drawing board? I should also mention her middle name would be Marie and our last name is pronounced like Paris. Thank you for all your hard work on the baby names website and podcast. I love it. Sincerely Alyssa Paris. MS, RD, LDN.
JENNIFER: She’s a nurse.
MALLORY: She’s a registered dietician, is what she is.
JENNIFER: Do you have any ideas or any impressions at first Mal?
MALLORY: Well, I actually like the name Lochlyn and I think it sounds more female, at least in the U S and I love the name Lo. So I would go with Lochlan actually. I don’t care what they say in other parts of the world. I think Lochlyn a great name.
JENNIFER: Yeah, I mean, how many times are you going to go abroad and say, my daughter’s name is Lochlyn and then they go, whoa, whoa. Do I have to mention it’s a boy. I mean really.
MALLORY: That was the worst, I don’t even know what, I’ve ever heard.
JENNIFER: I think I was trying to be Irish, because Lochlyn is an Irish name. But it really, I believe it was a surname first. Lochlyn.
MALLORY: It was a lake. It mean’s lake.
JENNIFER: And she’s spelling it L.O.C.H.L.Y.N. So it has L.Y.N is a female element of the name. You can call her Lynn. You could call her Lo.
MALLORY: I don’t know. I was going to say Lottie. But I mean you never know. Miranda went by Mimi for a while. She went by Millie.
JENNIFER: Don’t know where that came from, but I think for about six months in middle school she went by Millie. So don’t worry about nicknames. First of all, you’ll figure it out. And second of all, they’ll pretty much pick their own nicknames. Mimi stuck for a long time and now she doesn’t use it at all. Only family calls Miranda Mimi.
MALLORY: And do you know what? Don’t like Carter for a girl, sorry.
JENNIFER: Well, Carter is also a US president, Jimmy Carter. So I think it would be associated on a public level with him. And so I’m not sure it really works for a girl. So my opinion is don’t worry about the nickname. I really like Lochlyn Marie. I think it’s beautiful. And if you love it, go for it. Remember, this is your child and the only people really who have to like it are you and your husband.
MALLORY: That’s exactly right. And you know what? So do Mallory and Jennifer, so go for it. We give you —
JENNIFER: Go for Lochlyn.
MALLORY: That’s right.
JENNIFER: Yeah. I mean it’s not a name that would be a burden upon the child. I think it’s beautiful. It’s a surname. It’s not necessarily a masculine name. I don’t think it’s going to sound dated in 20 years because it’s not on the top of the charts. Really, only the names that sound dated are the ones where there’s tons of people named like Jennifer. And so people identify it with a certain, like decade and time. And the other thing I want to say is that I don’t think that you have to give a girl a boy’s name to give her a head start in this world or for job resumes. I think that’s kind of buying into the misogynistic culture. So why not name her a feminine name and just understand that she’s going to be strong and intelligent and worthy in her own right.
MALLORY: Oh, that’s a good point. BabyNames seal of approval. Stamped!
JENNIFER: Yay. Now the second letter. This is a question I got from a New York Times reporter. I’m waiting for the article to come out. They said, I’m writing an article for the New York Times about parents who let their children choose their own names. I was hoping you could answer a few quick questions. One, have you heard of this trend and why do you believe it’s becoming more popular? They let their children choose their own name or choose from a selection of names. Two, is this a good idea? Why or why not? And three, at what age might this work?
MALLORY: This is a terrible idea!
JENNIFER: It’s a horrible idea. First of all, when mom was expecting you, I wanted to name you Marilyn Zsa Zsa.
MALLORY: That’s exactly what I was thinking.
JENNIFER: Pooky Tata Pug Nose Butt. You know, I mean like —
MALLORY: And I don’t want either of those names.
JENNIFER: Like children do not have the capacity to name them ourselves. Plus their opinions change so quickly. Now the first thing I told the reporter is that you must file a baby name for the birth certificate. You can’t just leave a baby unnamed. And every state in the United States has a different time period. It might be within 10 days of birth, it might be within six weeks, but you must file a name. So there has to be an official birth certificate name, number one. And you’re not going to ask a three week old baby what their name is. They’re going to say goo. Goo or Wahhhh. So that’s ridiculous. The other thing is, and mom and I discussed this when somebody wrote to her in her column about changing a child’s name at six, is that the child starts identifying with her name. And when you go to change it, they think something is wrong with them. That’s kinda, it’s a psychological thing. And you probably know more about this than I do cause it’s your background. But I think that it could be traumatic if the parent says, “Oh, I don’t think you’re a Mallory, I think you need to change your name.” You’re like, well what’s wrong with me? So, when parents say, oh, he doesn’t look like a Peter and we have name remorse and we want to change his name, usually my recommendation is to do it before one years old. Although they can recognize their name even as early as like three months. You know, because you’ve been calling them, hopefully lovingly, their name for, you know, their entire lives. What do you think Mal?
MALLORY: I agree. I mean, again, I think this is a terrible idea. I think that they’re going to get their names by popular media. You know, and so for instance, when they’re seven, they’re going to get it from Nickelodeon TV shows or whatever kids watch or from YouTube. And when they’re 13 they’re gonna get it from pop music.
JENNIFER: Yeah. Exactly.
MALLORY: And it’s just not going to work out. Let them decide if they want to, and when they’re adults, change their name but not as kids. This is a ridiculous idea.
JENNIFER: I think so too. And I think I said that the age at which they should decide if they choose to change their name is 18 at adulthood. At least here in the US you know.
MALLORY: I think the only exception to this might be when someone is transgender and they want to go with say, a more feminine or masculine name. Then maybe when they get to a certain age in their teens or if they want to go with a nickname, I don’t know. Why don’t some of our transgender listeners write us and tell us what they think.
JENNIFER: Right. I mean, I would say if a child is transitioning, let’s say 10 years old, I would allow them personally. This is just me personally. I would allow them to use another name, but I wouldn’t legally change it until they were at least 16 and got a feel for it and really felt like they identified with that name for at least three to five years. Hello?
MALLORY: No, I got nothing more. I think it’s a good idea.
JENNIFER: Great. So if you want a new name for the day, week or permanently, go to the babynames.com random name generator. I’m going to go right now and see what my new name is. It’s under fun stuff in the babynames.com menu. Hold on, let me see what mine it is. Okay, I got Acatherina Julie Moss. Ooh, Acatherina is the Greek form of the name Catherine. So what’s your new name Mal?
MALLORY: Nazli —
MALLORY: Nazli, N.A.Z.L.I. I don’t think so. Alright. Myrrh, okay maybe Moss.
JENNIFER: Myrrh, like the spice?
MALLORY: Like parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
JENNIFER: And Myrrh. Nazli is the name of my friend Faith’s doggy.
MALLORY: Okay, well I don’t want to be a doggy.
JENNIFER: Nazli Moss. Stay tuned for our next episode when we talk about the absolute worst baby names.
MALLORY: Okay Moxie Crimefighter and what not to do when naming your baby.
JENNIFER: Like Moxie Crimefighter.
JENNIFER: That’s right. So bye folks. Have a great week. And if you have a question about names or naming, remember to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MALLORY: And if you love us, go ahead and rate us, but not if you hate us.
JENNIFER: Who could hate us?
MALLORY: I don’t know.
JENNIFER: We’re wonderful.
MALLORY: We’re lovely.
JENNIFER: We are wonderful. Please rate us.
MALLORY: Five stars.
JENNIFER: Five stars folks. All right. Goodbye Mal. I love you.
MALLORY: Love you too. And we love her older sisters Kate and Sue.
JENNIFER: Sue and Kate. Bye.